Obituary: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, bookseller and poet

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Obituary: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, bookseller and poet

Feb 24 2021

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, distinguished American poet, artist, and founder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers, died in San Francisco, California on Feb 22, aged 101.

Ferlinghetti was instrumental in democratizing American literature by creating (with Peter D. Martin) the country's first all-paperback bookstore in 1953, jumpstarting a movement to make diverse and inexpensive quality books widely available. He envisioned the San Francisco based bookstore as a "Literary Meeting Place," where writers and readers could congregate to shares ideas about poetry, fiction, politics, and the arts.

Two years later, in 1955, he launched City Lights Publishers with the objective of stirring an "international dissident ferment." His inaugural edition was the first volume of the City Lights Pocket Poets Series, which proved to be a seminal force in shaping American poetry.

Source: City Lights

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